Does St. John’s Wort Provide Relief For Nerve Pain?
St. John’s wort has been lauded as a great alternative for treating depression, but did you know that it has also benefited people diagnosed with neuropathy? In fact, it is the main active ingredient in the Homeopathic Pharmacopoeia of the United States-approved Nerve Pain Away spray, which has been known for the quick relief from pain it offers.
St. John’s Wort: A Background
Scientifically known as Hypericumperforatum, St. John’s wort is a perennial shrub-like plant that bears yellow flowers and is best known for its anti-depressant properties. Named after St. John the Baptist, this plant goes into full bloom every 24th of June, which is also the feast of the Catholic saint.
Up North, red spots appear on the leaves of St. John’s wort every August 29, which is the death anniversary of St. John the Baptist. Because of this, people believe that the red spots are supposedly splatters of blood from when the saint was beheaded.
It is usually found in Europe but can also be propagated in areas with temperate climates such as Asia, North America, South America, and Africa.
Benefits and Side Effects
Over the years, the bright-flowered plant has been used as a natural treatment for mental conditions including anxiety, depression, and even attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). For most people, St. John’s wort can be taken as a tea, but patients should also experience its full effects when administered as tinctures or tablets.
Unfortunately, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has yet to consider this herb to be as safe as either prescription or over-the-counter drugs. This and the fact that the exact science of how it works remains unclear, which may be why people are asking: is St. John's Wort safe?
According to experts, there is no reason to doubt the effectiveness of this herb on depression as it has been seen to have a similar action as fluoxetine. Fluoxetine is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) that effectively triggers the release of a cocktail of hormones that make a person feel happy.
During the 20th century, St. John’s wort was also found to have antibacterial properties, thanks to its hyperforin content. Some people believe that it can also be used to treat atopic dermatitis as a hypericum cream as well as somatoform disorders. However, more evidence is needed to verify the latter.
HIV patients, on the other hand, should be wary when using this natural treatment. While several studies conducted on animals showed that St. John’s wort has antiviral properties, one research human trial did not. This is also to avoid the risk of the herb’s adverse interactions with other medications used to treat the condition.
St. John’s Wort and Neuropathy
Nerve damage is another medical condition that has been mentioned in articles tackling the various uses of St. John’s wort.
At one point, scientists published a study in 2010 about the plant’s effects on neuropathic pain and revealed that the hypericin and hyperforin content in St. John’s wort has anti-hyperalgesic properties and tends to affect the patient longer.
Aside from that, a 2017 case report published in the Complementary Therapies In Medicine showed that Hypericumperforatum can effectively relieve neuropathic pain in patients with trigeminal neuralgia, a condition signaled by a shock-like or burning facial pain.
Another study showed that oil extracted from the plant can relieve nerve pain, supports repair of damaged nerves and can also provide extra protection. However, experts warn that these findings are only tested on animals and have yet to be backed by human trial.
On top of that, several reports of adverse interactions with other medications occurred, so it is best to be careful when administering products containing this ingredient.